On the Front Foot: ECB chief and Cameron's pal Marland remain the best of enemies


It is one of those peculiarities of life that Giles Clarke, the top man in English cricket, and Lord Marland, his erstwhile would-be nemesis, have never met.

How tantalisingly close they came the other evening in Colombo. The two men were dining in the same downtown restaurant on separate tables. They were never more than a good-length ball apart but they did not acknowledge each other's presence.

Clarke is the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Marland the man who briefly stood against him for the office two years ago and is now one of the owners of The Cricketer magazine. They said some beastly things about each other then, before Marland withdrew his candidacy when it became clear the votes were all going the other way.

Last month, Clarke wasre-elected unopposed for another three-year period, which may indicate what a jolly good job he is doing but is hardly healthy for cricketing democracy. He has attended both Test matches in Sri Lanka in his official capacity.

Marland, under-secretary for state for energy and friend of the Prime Minister, is here in his capacity as a deep-rooted lover of the game, who has long sought to become more involved after making a City fortune.

They are different kinds of chaps. But you never know, Clarke and Marland might have forged the beginning of a beautiful friendship at the London Grill to take cricket forward into a brave world. They chose not to.

Sitting on fence over Sofa

It is fascinating that Giles Clarke has not uttered a dickie about The Cricketer's acquisition of laddish online commentary site Test Match Sofa (still mildly irreverent, faintly diverting, nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is).

He is a great defender of broadcasting rights holders. Sofa, available in foreign parts where Test Match Special is not, is breaking no laws, however, since commentating from the telly might be irritating but is not illegal. Marland, in line with a non-interference policy, has been equally silent about Sofa.

Why not a gong for Knott?

Alan Knott, probably England's greatest wicketkeeper/batsman, is 66 tomorrow. By the time he is 67 it would be superb to introduce him as Alan Knott MBE (or OBE). He is one of the few great cricketers of his era not to have received a gong, along with the great fast bowler John Snow, and the former captain Tony Greig.

Many of the present team have already been invested into some order or other, with Alastair Cook being the most recent. With due respect to Cook, who may score enough runs one day to elicit the top accolade, he is not Knott. Or Snow. Or Greig.

Greig, to whom the modern cricketer owes a great debt, is at last being rehabilitated. He will deliver the Cowdrey Spirit of Cricket Lecture at Lord's later this year shortly after the Birthday Honours. Redemption would be complete if he was introduced with letters after his name.

Flower to bloom at Marathon

Between preparing England to win, or in the event draw, a Test series, Andy Flower has been running himself into a humidity-drenched frazzle. He is competing (Flower plays nothing simply for fun) in the London Marathon on 22 April.

The sight of Flower running round the outfield post-match in Sri Lanka, sometimes in company with the bowling coach, David Saker, has been common. It is not Saker whose temple-like body will accompany Flower in a fortnight, however, but the team's psychologist, Mark Bawden.

Flower's longest run so far has been 15 miles, along the Galle coast road, starting at 5.30am to avoid the heat of the day. Three charities, Hope For Children, the Lord's Taverners and Factor 50, will benefit (you can donate at justgiving.com/Andy-Flower).

"I don't even want to think whether I can run 26 miles but I know I have to do it," he says. "There is no discussion."


Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home